Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Obama to Netanyahu: U.S. Willing to Mediate Israel-Hamas Truce - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News) Israel-Turkey Ties Will Not Normalize unless Gaza Assault Stops, says PM Erdogan (Hurriyet - Turkey) A Guide to Hamas' Rockets (Global Security) Infographic: How Far Can Gaza's Rockets Reach in Israel (Globe and Mail - Canada) Video: When Hamas Puts Civilians in the Line of Fire (IDF) Jerusalem Film Festival Gets Underway - Andreas Wiseman (Screen Daily) Numbers Don’t Tell the Mideast Story - Thane Rosenbaum (Daily Beast) Israel Continues Caring for Gaza Patients (Israel 21c)
Obama to Netanyahu: U.S. Willing to Mediate Israel-Hamas Truce - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
Israel-Turkey Ties Will Not Normalize unless Gaza Assault Stops, says PM Erdogan (Hurriyet - Turkey)
A Guide to Hamas' Rockets (Global Security)
Infographic: How Far Can Gaza's Rockets Reach in Israel (Globe and Mail - Canada)
Video: When Hamas Puts Civilians in the Line of Fire (IDF)
Jerusalem Film Festival Gets Underway - Andreas Wiseman (Screen Daily)
Numbers Don’t Tell the Mideast Story - Thane Rosenbaum (Daily Beast)
Israel Continues Caring for Gaza Patients (Israel 21c)
News Resources - North America and Europe:
Rocket fire from both Gaza and Lebanon struck Israel Friday morning as fears of a possible Israeli ground invasion rose in the Gaza Strip as Israel issued warnings to residents of the coastal enclave’s northeast corner, advising them to leave their border-area homes and stay away.
A rocket from Hamas-controlled Gaza hit a gas station in the Israeli city of Ashdod, seriously injuring one and wounding two others. (Washington Post)
“This is not a classic Arab-Israeli conflict, where it goes on for a couple of weeks and then the great powers intervene,” said Dore Gold, a former Israeli U.N. ambassador who now heads the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Hamas, he noted, is not only listed by Europe and Washington as a terrorist organization, it also lacks backing in the Arab world, which is preoccupied with sectarian divisions and leery of its Muslim Brotherhood roots. Its political weakness moved the militant group to make the concessions required to complete a long-promised unity government with the secular Fatah faction led by Abbas, but the deal has failed to produce any evidence at all that “bringing Hamas in to the tent” would moderate its behavior. “They’re not acting like a terror group on its way to governing,” Gold said. “They’re behaving in the worst possible way.” (Time)
The United States targeted a key Hizbullah procurement network by designating brothers Kamel Mohamad Amhaz and Issam Mohamad Amhaz; their business, Stars Group Holding, which is based in Beirut and has subsidiaries in China and the UAE; and certain managers and individuals who supported their illicit activities.
Hizbullah relies heavily on front companies such as Stars Group Holding, which continue to procure dual-use material for the organization to enhance its military capabilities. Stars Group Holding has covertly purchased sophisticated electronics and other technology from suppliers around the world, including a range of engines, communications, electronics, and navigation equipment. These materials have directly supported Hizbullah’s development of unmanned aerial vehicles for its destructive military activities in Syria. (U.S. State Department)
As senators submitted a bipartisan resolution in support of Israel’s right to defend its citizens in the face of rocket attacks, a key Democratic senator hosted Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer and Defense Attaché Major General Yaacob Ayish. They briefed members of U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Intelligence Committees on Operation Protective Edge at the invitation of Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs.
Kaine was a co-sponsor of a Senate resolution “expressing support for the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization” that was introduced Thursday by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
According to a statement issued by the senators, the resolution reaffirms the United States’ support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel; condemns the unprovoked rocket fire at Israel; calls on Hamas to immediately cease all rocket and other attacks against Israel; and calls on Abbas to dissolve the unity governing arrangement with Hamas and condemn the attacks on Israel. (Times of Israel)
The rockets fired from Lebanon that hit Metulla early Friday were likely fired by a Palestinian group that identifies with Hamas, say defense sources. This would indicate that the Lebanon rockets do not represent an escalation and broadening of the conflict by the entry of other groups like Hizbullah. The IDF responds with artillery fire into Lebanon. (Times of Israel)
See also One Arrested in Lebanon in Connection to Rocket Fire on Israel - Roi Kais
Official Lebanese media has reported that security forces have arrested one man in south Lebanon under suspicion of taking part in rocket fire on Israel. Blood spots were found in his vehicle apparently belonging to the man who was injured as he fired a rocket. (Ynet News)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Thursday that a cease-fire with Hamas was not on the agenda. Netanyahu also stressed that he had received understanding and support from every foreign leader he had spoken to in the last day. "French President Francois Hollande told me that I am right and even issued a statement condemning the rocket fire afterward," Netanyahu said. (Ha'aretz)
The most striking aspect of ongoing Arab reactions to the latest Hamas-Israeli clashes is an act of omission: the Palestinian Authority (PA) and President Mahmoud Abbas are not calling for Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israeli cities. This contradicts Abbas's recent declarations that the new PA government and its Hamas backers would honor past PA commitments regarding nonviolence against Israel. A new statement from Abbas's office claims that "the Palestinians have the right to defend themselves by all legitimate means" against "Israeli escalation."
In today's latest twist, Abbas and the PA are not just calling for Israel to stop its airstrikes against Hamas targets inside Gaza. According to several plausible press reports, they are also threatening to haul Israel before the International Criminal Court for the "war crime" or "genocide" of responding to Hamas rocket attacks.
High-level U.S. statements, from President Obama on down, have so far not asked Abbas to account for the PA's failure to oppose the Hamas rocket fire. Washington should unconditionally demand that Hamas stop shooting rockets into Israel -- and that the PA fulfill its longstanding commitment to precisely that position. (Washington Institute)
Confronted with Hamas’s rocket attacks against Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and its main nuclear facility, the international community must recognize Israel’s right to defend itself. Responding to waves of Iranian and Syrian missiles launched by Hamas, Israel has retaliated with pinpoint airstrikes against terrorist targets in Gaza that have killed 60 people. With the usual lack of balance, Israel is being denounced while Hamas’s aggression, which caused the crisis, is overlooked.
Hamas’s culpability and motives are transparent. Its charter denies the reality of the Holocaust and it is committed to armed struggle against Israel’s right to exist. While Hamas prevails in Gaza, the Palestinian people will remain without a homeland and will continue snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as they have many times.
The international community must lay the blame where it belongs and not be hoodwinked. Calls on Israel and Hamas for “mutual restraint” ignore the vital facts. Hamas’s terrorist aggression and Israel’s inviolable right to protect itself are chalk and cheese. (The Australian)
A mere year and a half after Operation Pillar of Defense, we now, unsurprisingly, find ourselves facing another "round" of terrorist rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. The range of the rockets has expanded, with more than half of Israel's population now under threat. This time, a lesson must be taught. "Returning the quiet" will not be enough. We must change the current situation, in which a terrorist group can shower rockets on a strong country like Israel.
The purposes of Operation Protective Edge must be defined precisely: the toppling of the Hamas regime and the elimination of all rockets in Gaza. Is it possible to defeat a terrorist group? Can these objectives be achieved using military force? The answer to both questions is yes. Will this require a ground operation? Will such an operation involve the loss of troops? Yes and yes. Every military commander knows the challenge is to fulfill the mission and protect soldiers, in that order.
Israel has a national need, a mandate from the people and a strong military. Now we need to win -- to topple the Hamas regime and cleanse Gaza of rockets. (Israel Hayom)
If Hamas is pacing its missile fire, it means they’re in it for the long haul. If they’re crossing red lines by firing missiles at Dimona as well as Ben Gurion airport, it means they’re going all out. The question is why.
Some analysts point to likely Iranian involvement— indeed use of the long-range M-302, not previously in the arsenal of Hamas, underscores that suggestion. The Iranians have a lot of cards to play in Gaza, including Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian factions, as well as Hamas itself. As Israeli analyst Shimon Shapira commented recently, “Iran is more than capable of going over the head of Hamas’s political leadership and arming its military commanders directly.”
Hamas may be putting on a demonstration for Tehran of how helpful it can be to the Islamic Republic. With Hezbollah tied down in Syria fighting alongside Assad, Hamas is another tool of Iranian deterrence should the Israelis consider striking Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities. (Weekly Standard)
There is a media campaign underway attempting to wash the blood of three innocent Israeli teens off the hands of the Hamas terrorist organization. Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority urgently seek exoneration to protect the PA-Hamas reconciliation agreement.
“The whole issue of who did this, we don’t know, really, even though Israel managed to punish everybody,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior PLO official, to The New York Times. “Hamas has never been self-effacing. Whenever they carried out an operation, they always declared it and took responsibility.” According to Israeli reporter Shlomi Eldar, a “rogue” group was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of the three boys.
Hamas’ denial of responsibility is a longtime tradition in Palestinian terrorist operations. The lies provided “plausible deniability” to the PLO and Yasser Arafat in the early 1970s. In September 1971, Fatah secretly established a terrorist unit called “Black September” to carry out major attacks on Israeli and Western targets, such as the murder of Israeli sportsmen at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Terrorist leader Salah Khalaf (aka Abu Iyad) wrote in his book Stateless that members of Black September “always denied any ties between their organization and Fatah or the PLO.”
The decentralization of Hamas today is vital to its operations and the survival of its leadership. Who is responsible for the kidnapping of the Israeli teens and the rocket barrage from Gaza launched at Israel? None of its leaders, Hamas claims. All of them, Israel insists. No one should absolve the terrorists’ leadership, even if the lines of authority are temporarily and purposely blurred. (Jerusalem Post)
The strategic purpose of the operation is derived from the state’s obligation to protect its citizens and enable them to pursue a normal way of life. Restoring deterrence to achieve another period of quiet was a major strategic achievement of prior operations and a primary objective of the current campaign. While deterrence addresses the motivation to fire at Israel, the current operation should also deal with the capabilities of Hamas and smaller terrorist organizations, particularly Islamic jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees. The operation must be directed mainly against the military wing of Hamas and the other terrorist organizations, and strike a severe blow against their commanders, operatives, launching capabilities, and production capacity.
Regarding a combined operation, with air and ground attacks, based on intelligence, the public tends to see only two models of action, aerial or aerial with a large scale ground operation to occupy Gaza. Yet even if we do not intend to occupy Gaza, a ground operation is necessary and almost essential. There is a high level of synergy between an aerial operation and a ground operation. Without a ground operation, Hamas will remain underground. A ground operation against high value targets will create friction with the terrorist organizations’ military wing and allow both an aerial and a ground force to attack them and their operational infrastructures. (Institute for National Security Studies)
As the Gaza operation continues, activity on social networks, some of which are identified with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, is intensifying, glorifying the role of Iran in general and of the IRGC in particular in upgrading the Palestinian terror organizations’ ability to launch rockets “into the heart of the cities in Israel.”
Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam was in charge of the IRGC’s self-sufficiency program for weapons and military equipment and is considered the “father of Iran’s missile program.” He was killed when an IRGC ammunition warehouse exploded on November 12, 2011. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
The New York Times' Editorial on Israel Was a Sloppy Hack Job - Yishai Schwartz (The New Republic)
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